I’ll be honest: I’m a creature of habit. Once I get myself into a routine, it’s hard for me to break out of it. Which can be a good thing, but it also means I can feel off, irritable, and downright blah when my routine is interrupted. Case in point: my workout routine. I’ve been waking up at 5 a.m. every single day for the last 12 years to get a sweat sesh in before work, and when I don’t, I feel seriously off. But about two years ago, I decided I’d rather save the money I formerly spent at the gym, along with 40 minutes of driving (L.A. traffic is real, people), by working out at home.
And while it did take some time for me to adjust and get into my groove (I don’t have any fancy cardio or weight machines; I’ve only invested in dumbells, ankle weights, and resistance bands), I’m so happy I made the change. I can honestly say I’ve never felt as strong as I do now, and that’s because I’ve found an amazing at-home program I’ve been doing for a year now. But before that, I went through quite a few different programs, and hands down, these are the best at-home workouts (ranked in order of effectiveness).
Founded by celebrity fitness instructor Lauren Kleban, LEKFIT is a small L.A.-based fitness studio that offers on-demand videos for people who want in at home. And I definitely did after hearing our co-founder Hillary Kerr praise it (though she goes to actual classes). For $20 a month, you get access to a variety of videos—some that are short (aka “add-ons”) and others that are long (either cardio dance, sculpting, or filmed-from-a-studio classes), which I felt were hard to follow.
While the videos do combine a variety of movements that work you from head to toe, I felt like I wasn’t getting the most out of each workout because I didn’t have a rebounder (even though the site says it’s not mandatory). My knees and ankles were also always sore, probably because I was jumping around on a hard floor in lieu of a mini trampoline. Don’t get me wrong: The workouts are good, but because I didn’t have space for a rebounder, I wasn’t working as hard as I could have been, which is why it’s in fourth place.
#3: PopSugar Fitness
I really have to hand it to PopSugar Fitness for creating such a great free YouTube channel. That’s right: free. (They offer a program called “30 Days to a Flat Belly” for $10.) The channel constantly uploads fresh videos, which keeps things exciting; I can’t even begin to describe the extent of the video library. There are so many, often with special guests like celebrity trainers or influencers, which definitely helps keep me engaged.
It can be a little overwhelming trying to find something you want to do, but they’ve made several playlists that have categories like 30-minute workouts, dance workouts, and no-equipment cardio workouts. This an easy resource to use to break a sweat and get your heart rate up (like, really up) without any machines. But the reason it’s in third place is because I like waking up and knowing what my workout will be. I’m guilty of spending too much time searching through the library, which obviously cuts into my actual workout.
I’m sure you’ve seen the Australian trainer Kayla Itsines pop up on your Instagram feed at one point or another, and for good reason. The girl knows how to make a fitness program. BBG (short for Bikini Body Guide) includes a 12-week fitness plan that can be done at home or at the gym, in addition to a nutrition plan. All of the instructions are super clear too.
In a nutshell, the program includes intense 28-minute workouts that combine cardio and weight training, and are only meant to be done three days a week. Each workout consists of two different circuits with four exercises each that need to be done twice. Basically, you set a timer for seven minutes and do each exercise as many times as you can before the timer goes off. Once it does, take a one-minute break before moving onto the next circuit. Then repeat it all one more time.
The nice thing is that every day is different. You get to focus on arms and abs, legs, or full body, so you’re really able to work all muscle groups. It’s honestly great, and the only reason it’s in second place is because I wanted something I could do every single day. But let’s be real: You can’t really complain when it’s only $120 a year (aka $10 a month).
#1: Alexia Clark
Thanks to Instagram, Alexia Clark came into my life a little over two years ago. Her feed is so inspirational, you guys. She’s in crazy-good shape, and posts all her daily workouts on her feed and in her stories. That alone got me to sign up for her $30-per-month program, which comes out to being $1 a day (aka totally worth it). I honestly think her online database is the best out there, and you can access it anywhere, from any device.
She posts 10 new workouts a week—five gym workouts and five at-home—and you can pick if you want a 20- to 30-minute session or 50- to 60-minute one. It’s incredible. And the workouts are really hard, combining a variety of training styles from HIIT to lifting, while always being innovative. I’ve honestly never gotten bored. Every night you get an email with the next day’s routine which always includes a video demo and clear description of each exercise.
What’s more, each workout is stored so you can go back and access previous weeks whenever you want. Not just that, but she also has a travel section which has eight days of workouts that don’t require anything but resistance bands. She also provides weekly meal plans and shopping lists to follow. One of the best things though, is the community she’s created (hey, #QueenTeam!). I think it’d be hard to find a more uplifting, supportive group of women, and I’m so happy to be a part of it!